The Perseverance of a Juvenile Generation

Rachel Held Evans is really tired of the culture wars.  So tired, in fact, that it appears in larger font, italicized, and bolded:

"My Generation is tired of the culture wars."

This appears in a blog post responding to the overwhelming victory in North Carolina for Amendment 1, defining legal marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  This is very, very upsetting for Rachel and many others like her.

She thinks that the costs of winning the culture wars will be losing an entire generation.

Memo to Rachel:

1.  Culture wars, alas, are not optional.  I'm sorry that she finds it uncomfortable that the Kingdom of God inevitably produces cultural conflict (read the Sermon on the Mount), but that is not a bug: it's a feature.  We are to consider it "pure joy" when we are faced with trials of many kinds, including the cultural kinds like being viewed as bigoted Neanderthals, because we know that the testing of our faith "develops perseverance" (James 1:3).

2.  Got that?  Perseverance.  But poor Rachel and her generation are just plain tired.  James goes on to say that "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete."

3.  Got that?  Maturity.  Exhibit A of James' thesis may well be the childishness of Rachel's post: "But they won't like us!"  Yep.  I think Jesus and his Apostles kind of like, you know, took that into account.  Take Paul, for instance.  Writing to the sexually promiscuous society of Corinth:

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

I guess Paul wasn't too worried about being disliked.  He kept right on preaching even after getting stoned and left for dead.

4.  The real root of Rachel's discontent reveals that she wants to quit the culture wars precisely because she's already a fatal casualty in the culture wars.  The architects of the GLBT cultural movement (yes, there is such a movement) purposely planned to shame Bible-believing Christians by relentlessly portraying the GLBT community as the persecuted victims, even while they were aggressively assaulting the broad moral consensus of the culture in media, entertainment, politics and (most importantly) law.  You can read all about it here.  This is the only mode of moral evaluation Rachel knows: GLBT are the persecuted minority and Christians are the bigoted oppressors.  Score one for the opposition.

5.  Rachel's entire post is laced with sentimentality.  Don't we know that these people are real people?  Don't we care about them?  Yes, Rachel, we do.  Greatly.  And we believe, on the authority of Christ himself, that the lifestyle and the fallout from the cultural agenda is harmful to them and harmful to society.  As irritating as it might be to Joe Biden, many of us did not get our education from Will & Grace.

6.  Rachel is tired of "drawing lines in the sand."  Is there anywhere she won't blur the line for the sake of peace?  The polygamists and NAMBLA are patiently waiting for their legal openings.

There really isn't much more to say.  I read Rachel's post with a great deal of sadness.  The dissonance between her sentimentalism and the claims of the gospel in the New Testament is extreme.  Listen: the early church grew in the midst of the Roman Empire.  Can we please stop this whole "things are so different now!" mentality?  Religious pluralism, sexual autonomy and license is nothing new.  The church has faced the situation before.  This is not some unprecedented turn of events.  

And many people were literally fed to lions because they refused to give up their "culture war," opposing things like worshiping the Emperor and gladiatorial contests and polygamy and homosexuality and infant exposure.

It is pathetic that merely being disliked is enough to get Rachel and her whole generation to shut up.

Brian Mattson